Project THRIVE: Transition to Health, Resources, Independence, Viable careers, and Education


Across the nation, hundreds of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are applying and enrolling in colleges and universities, and at the University of North Florida (UNF), we are proud that our numbers of students with ASD are dramatically parallel to national trends. To ensure UNF students with ASD and related disorders experience successful collegiate benchmarks, THRIVE (Transition to Health, Resources, Independence, Viable careers, and Education) was created and developed by dedicated and passionate staff within the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS). Unique to UNF and the DRC, the THRIVE model contains four Core Components: (a) Situational Social Skills, (b) Independent Responsible Living, (c) Career Development, and (d) Academic Supports. These Core Components comprise the fundamental premises of THRIVE and consist of a series of steps to achieve competency in each core area. Using students’ strengths and skills, THRIVE personnel will evaluate each individual’s skills in these essential life areas. THRIVE was first developed in 2012, under the direct guidance of the former DRC director, along with three UNF students. THRIVE has continued to grow and remain sustainable with invested partnerships all over campus, THRIVE participant numbers are higher than any other program across the nation!

Mission Statement

To provide students with equal access to the University of North Florida for degree-seeking students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or related disorders.


THRIVE seeks to provide strategic supports for degree-seeking students with ASD and other related disorders at UNF. With additional services in Career Counseling, Social Skills, and Independent Living, THRIVE continues to support students across all facets of UNF from freshmen students to graduate students. This is to ensure that students have the greatest chance for success within the collegiate environment, with generalizable skills to life after UNF. THRIVE believes that these services should be provided to students at no additional cost, therefore, involvement in THRIVE is free for eligible participants.


The student leadership committee plans and facilitates social events both on and off campus. All THRIVE participants are expected and required to attend weekly wind downs where THRIVE participants and mentors hang out and talk about their week. In addition to attending wind downs, THRIVE students are expected and required to meet with their designated mentor at least one time per week. These requirements are to ensure student progress and success both in and out of the classroom setting. Weekly wind downs are sponsored by UNF's counseling center and is a confidential, safe space where THRIVE students and mentors can socialize with each other while developing emotional intelligence skills.

Greek organizations on campus have invested interest with THRIVE and these students co-facilitate with student leaders within THIRVE to host an Osprey Social Hour once a month for the Greek community and members of THRIVE, thanks to program founder, Matthew Silberstein. These gatherings give THRIVE students the opportunity to visit with their peers and other UNF students in a fun social setting.

UNF's LGBT Center has partnered with THRIVE to develop a unique social group for THRIVE students who want to learn more about LGBT issues in a safe and confidential setting.


Interested in learning more about THRIVE?

Are you a prospective UNF student with ASD who has been admitted to UNF want to voluntarily participate in THRIVE? If so, please follow the following steps:

Step 1:

Register with the Disability Resource Center, located in building 57, room 1500. This requires updated documentation from a licensed professional. See DRC documentation guidelines for specific requirements.

DRC Documentation Guidelines


Step 2:

Contact THRIVE coordinator to complete and confirm registration in THRIVE. Please leave your name, n#, email, and phone number with contact information provided below.

Tara Rowe, M.Ed.

University of North Florida

DRC Thrive Coordinator

Office: (904) 620-1356 

Fax: (904) 620-3874

Thrive Email Contact



Project THRIVE Donate Now



If you would like to get involved or are interested in supporting THRIVE, please contact program coordinator, Tara Rowe, to learn more about volunteer opportunities with THRIVE.